True hardcore never dies
Trends within the hardcore/punk rock scene continually come and go. But while change is a constant within the scene, Sick of it All have remained true to their sound, and more importantly to their loyal fans, which has earned the band a reputation as a leader, rather than a follower.
After a lengthy four year gap following the band’s last album (the critically acclaimed Death to Tyrants was released back in 2006), the four piece (consisting of vocalist Lou Koller, guitarist/backing vocalist Pete Koller, bassist/backing vocalist Craig Setari and drummer Armand Majidi) are back with their ninth full-length album Based on a True Story. If there’s one band hardcore fans have been able to rely on time and time again, it’s Queens (New York) based outfit Sick of it All. And as you would expect, the band’s first release for Century Media Records is no exception.
The album gets off to an explosive start with the blasting Death or Jail, with the fire within the band evidently still present within the four piece act. The song itself still retains the metallic edge that gave Death to Tyrants its edge, while Lou Koller’s vocal performance is as aggressive and biting as ever.
The fast paced/gang vocal enhanced The Divide follows a similar path of the opener with its huge riffs and heavy breakdowns, while the big grooves and thick sounding guitar crunch (courtesy of producer Tue Madsen) within the anthem-like Dominated, Watch it Burn, Nobody Rules and the fast paced Bent Outta Shape further reinforce the band’s continued heavier direction.
But while the album has it’s heavier moments, it boasts plenty of variety as well, with tracks such as the sing along effort A Month of Sundays, the menacing Lowest Common Denominator, the chaotic Good Cop, the infectious Waiting For the Day, Long as She’s Standing highlighting a greater punk influence within the band’s hardcore song writing framework.
The only track that comes across as being a little out of place on the album is the short instrumental Braveheart. After playing the song live for years, the band decided to lay it down for the new album. But while it’s a great piece of music (the kind of song that builds with its huge booming drums in preparation of huge release with the start of the follow on song), it’s placing around the one third mark of the album makes it sound wasted. As an opener, this really would have work. But as it stands, it’s kind of lost within the album. But given this is the only fault on the album, this mistake can be easily overlooked.
They’ve may have been around for close to twenty-five years, but it would seem that time has not wearied Sick of it All one bit. Based on a True Story is one strong album and testament to strength within one of the New York hardcore scenes finest.
(Century Media Records/E.M.I. Music Australia)